Millennials more likely to ditch diet mentality

by Monica Watrous
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Young people eating at a restaurant, millennials
Millennials are less concerned about calories and fat than the general population.

WASHINGTON — In matters of health and wellness, millennials are less concerned about calories and fat than the general population, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC)’s 2015 Food and Health Survey. Millennial consumers also are more likely to use technology to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Sarah Romotsky, IFIC
Sarah Romotsky, R.D., director of health and wellness for the IFIC Foundation

“Millennials are a unique generation, and their approach to health and fitness is no exception,” said Sarah Romotsky, R.D., director of health and wellness for the IFIC Foundation. “This research gave us an inside look at how millennials are optimistic about the future of food, they look to their friends and family for support, they use technology as a tool to reach their health goals, and they have shifting attitudes about the value of certain nutrients.”

Like the general population, millennial consumers agree moderate sugar intake may be part of a healthy diet and that there are differences in the healthfulness of naturally occurring sugars compared with other types of sweeteners. However, millennial perceptions of fat and protein differ from those of the general population. Fewer millennials (54% vs. 61% of the general population) claim to have reduced consumption of solid fats, and one in three millennials recently have changed his or her opinion on the healthfulness of saturated fat, with millennial men more likely to view it more favorably. Additionally, one in five millennials say higher-protein foods may have many unhealthful components, compared to one in seven of the general population.

Moreover, millennials are less likely to count or limit calories than other age groups, and 20% of millennials claim all sources of calories have an equal effect on weight gain, compared to 27% of the general population.

More than a third (36%) of millennials track daily food and beverage intake using an app or other means, compared with 22% of the population, and 12% of  millennials use an on-line support group or community to pursue wellness goals, compared with 6%. Millennials also are more optimistic than other age groups about future food innovations and inventions that may support healthful living.

Food tracking app
More than a third (36%) of millennials track daily food and beverage intake using an app or other means.

Millennials also are more likely to trust a health or nutrition blogger for accurate food information (33% vs. 24% of the general population) and rely on support of family and friends to improve eating behaviors (45% vs. 32%).

“It’s encouraging to see that millennials are interested in learning more about eating well,” said Kris Sollid, R.D., director of nutrient communications for the IFIC Foundation. “Developing a positive relationship with food is one of the most important things young people can do for their health.”
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